Kelowna’s economy has gotten off to a fairly robust start.
The Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission released their quarterly report on the region, and said that from January to March there was a 1.7 per cent increase in the region’s labour force participation and an average unemployment rate of 6.1. The region saw 5,871 job postings in the first quarter of the year, supporting the growth in the region’s labour force, with the highest demand continuing to be in the sales and service occupational category.
Building permit values are on the rise, by 23.7 per cent, and business licences increased year over year by 11.6 per cent. Growth has also been seen in the volume of people moving through Kelowna International Airport, which has seen a 6.5 per cent uptick.
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Where there has been a significant drop, however, is housing starts which are 63 per cent lower when compared with the same period last year.
“This change is primarily attributed to the record high number of multi-family projects that were started in 2017,” according to a COEDC representative. “Many of these starts are still underway fueling some of the momentum of the last five years which saw a 253 per cent increase in housing starts from 2013-2017. Additionally, the CMHC reported new home prices averaging $925,000 compared to resale home prices averaging $656,750 in Q1 2018.”
The commission collects the statistical data for these reports from BC Stats, Statistics Canada, CMHC, and local governments in the Central Okanagan.
They warn that caution should be used in the interpretation of month-to-month statistics, in particular the Labour Force Survey, a monthly sample survey which provides unemployment rates of the Canadian labour market.
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